Bakery exporters are gearing up for a huge increase in orders from the Continent and North America, as the fall in the value of the pound makes their products more competitive compared to foreign rivals.
While the falls in the value of the pound against the euro and the dollar are bad news for UK bakers that rely on imported ingredients, equipment and packaging (see feature pg 14), British bakery products have become far more attractive to foreign buyers.
Colchester-based frozen desserts company Indulgence Patisserie, which supplies retailers in France, said it had seen a huge increase in interest from European buyers after the dramatic rise in the value of the euro against the pound, which, since November, has risen from around 80p to 95p.
"The rising euro has increased some of our ingredients costs but has also led to an upsurge in export enquiries from countries as diverse as France, Australia, Germany and Turkey. Export sales in December were up 500% year-on-year and we anticipate this trend will continue throughout 2009," said MD Angus Allan.
Cornwall-based biscuit and fudge company Furniss, which already supplies French retailers and has a stand at the upcoming ISM trade exhibition in Germany, is also expecting a good year for exports. "At the last ISM, buyers felt our products were expensive, due to the strength of the pound," said national accounts manager David Roberts. "This year we are much more competitive and hope to increase sales abroad. We have already had interest from Europe, the US and Canada."
Exporters of traditional British products, such as pies and pasties, generally bought by ex-pats and British holiday-makers see the fall in the pound as a double-edged sword. While their products are more competitive, there are fears that the number of Brits taking foreign holidays this year could be well down.